Run by Toby and Paula, the centre offers ordinary people a chance to learn from professional artists skilled in poetry, sculpture, ceramics, and the like. Artists like Greg, the New England poet, whose works are strangely absent; or Bob the lascivious potter who sells his Toby jugs to department stores. As the latest group of students arrives, tensions begin to run high and artistic temperaments are much on display. In fact much more is learnt about expressing oneself than was ever suggested on the prospectus.
"Delightful . . . complex and exquisite. Penelope Lively's prose is beautiful and spare and she is a master of understatement."
"Her economy and wit are apparent on every page . . . it all leads to a splendid climax . . . wonderful, sensible, funny Penelope Lively."